I’m in a 1-Car Household. Should I Lease or Buy a Tesla?

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Evaluating whether to buy an electric car such as a Tesla has become a dynamic decision.

It forces you to keep track of government tax credits, a slew of recent price changes, infrastructure details as far as charging stations and more.

Not long ago, if you wanted to buy a decent electric vehicle, you needed to buy a Tesla. Competition is sprouting up fast. And now EVs are a big enough part of the American vehicle economy that you may consider buying used as well.

What is the best option right now for someone thinking about buying or leasing a Tesla?

I’m Thinking About Buying or Leasing a Tesla. What Does Clark Recommend?

Should I buy or lease a Tesla, or stick with one family vehicle?

That’s what a listener recently asked money expert Clark Howard.

Asked John in California: “I am considering buying a Tesla but … [it] looks like the fed tax credit will end this year and it’s uncertain if it will be extended or renewed.

“My partner and I have one car. We managed to make this work due to working from home, but I really would like to have two cars.

“What are your thoughts on getting a Tesla now and would you recommend leasing or buying? Lease is generally not a good idea but I heard technology might change and there may issues with the battery.”

It sounds like John wants a second car but doesn’t necessarily need one. In this instance, John should avoid overspending, Clark thinks.

It’s becoming more and more possible to get a great deal on a new Tesla. But there’s probably a way to make an even more cost-effective decision.

“You sound like a household that needs one and a quarter cars,” Clark says. “And if you’re interested in electric, and you live in California where the cost of gasoline is just about the highest in the country, electric makes a lot of sense.

“Now this is weird, but you might consider buying a used electric vehicle. Because they depreciate very quickly. Your [mileage] range needs may not be that great. Older electric vehicles, that’s the big shortcoming is they have limited range.”

Is Now a Good Time To Buy a New Tesla?

If John’s heart is set on buying a new Tesla, Clark says, it’s a good time to do so.

“The tax credits are not going away. That’s still going on,” Clark says. “And Tesla has had much softer sales of late. They’ve been having trouble moving their vehicles.


“That’s why they’ve had all these price cuts. So buying a Tesla right now is very, very, very favorable.”

Clark also mentioned that John’s worries about the battery packs are mostly unfounded. They’ve proven to be “very reliable,” says Clark, who drives a Tesla himself.

“I don’t know if you’re interested in a Model 3 or a Model Y. But after tax credits – you also have a state tax credit in California – you’re looking for a Model 3 new paying somewhere in the $20,000s and for a Model Y somewhere in the low $30,000 range,” Clark says.

“And that’s incredible if you think about just a year ago people were paying in the $60,000s for a Model Y that now effectively is in the $30,000s. And the vehicle is a very, very reliable vehicle.”

Final Thoughts

If you only want an electric vehicle to bounce around your city shopping for groceries and running errands, you can probably score an incredible deal on a slightly used model.

However, if you really want to buy a new Tesla, now is a great time to do so. The vehicles are reliable, the infrastructure keeps getting better and the prices are a lot more attractive than they were in the recent past.